Cabinet extends Visa on Arrival fee waiver for six months

24/10/2019

BANGKOK: The Cabinet has approved a six-month extension of the Visa on Arrival fee waiver campaign for visitors, to help generate more tourism spending in Thailand, reports state news agency NNT.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisaranakul announced today (Oct 24) that the Cabinet has approved in principle the draft fee waiver extension of Visa on Arrival for an additional six months from the expiry of the initial campaign on Oct 31, until April 30, 2020.

Under the campaign, a B2,000 Visa on Arrival fee is waived for eligible visitors. The campaign has been proven to increase tourist numbers in Thailand, the report said.

The waiver will cost the government B10.764 billion in lost revenue from fee collection, but is expected to generate B144.732bn revenue from tourism.

The Cabinet has also discussed a quota increase for Thai participants in Australia’s Work and Holiday program from 500 to 2,000 annually. The campaign allows Thai youth, selected by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, to legally work and travel in Australia.

The fee waiver extension for Visas on Arrival is available to nationals from Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu.

In August, the Cabinet resolved to extend the period for free visas on arrival for visitors from China, India and other countries, but rejected a proposal to waive visas entirely for Chinese and Indian visitors, to boost the economy.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn pushed for the move, calling the step “the ministry’s most urgent stimulus policy, without which tourism arrival growth might not reach our target.”

Joining the call were Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Governor Yuthasak Supasorn and Tourism Council of Thailand President Chairat Trirattanajarasporn.

Meanwhile, earlier this year tourists from several other countries received what the Tourism & Sports ministry sought for Indians and Chinese.

Some countries whose nationals who were previously permitted Visas on Arrival were earlier this year granted entry to the country for 30-day stays under Visa Exemption status. In particular, visas for trips to Thailand for tourist purposes for up to 30 days are no longer required for citizens of Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania.

For the full list of countries whose nationals are entitled to entry under the Tourist Visa Exemption Scheme and under bilateral agreements, click here.

Of note, countries on the list include Australia, Norway, France, Germany, Denmak, Sweden and Russia.

Courtesy: Published at The Phuket News on October 24, 2019

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